Vikings' rookie trio get few snaps compared to other first-round picks
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The Minnesota Vikings' three first-round picks brought all the buzz and hype, filling needs at defensive tackle and cornerback, while adding a dynamic receiver carrying the moniker 'flash.'
After last year's first-round duo produced two perennial starters in left tackle Matt Kalil and safety Harrison Smith, there's no reason fans shouldn't have expected the same caliber out of highly-touted athletes at their respective positions.
However, through six weeks, the rookie trio is ranked at No. 19, No. 27 and No. 30 in terms of playing time compared to their first-round cohorts. Not to say their increased playing time would result in a turnaround, but at 1-4, it might be in their best interest to develop future stars sooner rather than later.
Cornerback Xavier Rhodes has seen the most snaps of the three as he's the third cornerback on the depth chart and comes in during their nickel packages. He's currently playing two of every three snaps, which would've been more, but he sprained his ankle in Sunday's loss to the Carolina Panthers and missed time. Rhodes continues to play behind cornerback Josh Robinson, who has been a liability in pass coverage more often than not.
The Vikings' first selection with their 23rd-overall pick, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd's playing time has decreased as he saw a season-low 19 snaps [27%] on Sunday. He continues to play in a limited rotational role that is far from straining. After defensive tackle Christian Ballard walked away from the team in August, it was assumed Floyd would take on a larger role, but that hasn't happened. Floyd's been relatively healthy and it's interesting that he hasn't spelled more of veteran Kevin Williams' reps. The 33-year old continues to play 50+ snaps per game, despite coach Leslie Frazier's preseason plan to limit him to 35 snaps/game.
Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (19) played fewer snaps than fifth-option Joe Webb (22) for the first time since Week 2. With an ample amount of receiving options in the offense, Patterson has only eight catches for 85 yards on the season. They haven't had the quarterback, or adequate protection, to get the ball downfield much, but Patterson remains a downfield threat when they do put him in the ball game. He plays behind receiver Jerome Simpson as their pair of split ends.
All three rookies play some kind of role on special teams units.
Here's where the rookie trio stacks up to the NFL's first rounders in playing-time percentage through Week 6. Snap stats are pulled from ProFootballFocus.com and injured players are marked with [+] while injured reserve with [IR]. The snap counts are equated to healthy opportunities, but be aware there may be discrepencies as only relatively major injuries are accounted for.
Rank Position Name Snaps Drafted
1. OT - KC E. Fisher[+] 321/321[100%] No. 1
OT - JAX L. Joeckel[IR] 280/280[100%] No. 2
OG - TEN C. Warmack 401/401 [100%] No. 10
OT - SD D.J. Fluker 366/366 [100%] No. 11
QB - BUF E.J. Manuel[+] 358/358[100%] No. 16
OT - NYG J. Pugh 386/386[100%] No. 19
OG - CHI K. Long 391/391[100%] No. 20
OC - DAL T. Frederick 381/381[100%] No. 31
9. OT - PHI L. Johnson 436/437[99%] No. 4
10. SS - NO K. Vaccaro 373/379 [98%] No. 15
11. CB - ATL D. Trufant 308/318 [97%] No. 22
12. ILB - STL A. Ogletree 348/377 [92%] No. 30
13. FS - SF E. Reid 378/427 [89%] No. 18
14. WR - HOU D. Hopkins 367/421 [87%] No. 27
15. FS - BAL M. Elam 359/420 [85%] No. 32
16. DE - CLE B. Mingo 280/373 [75%] No. 6
DT - NYJ S. Richardson 324/430 [75%] No. 13
18. DE - DET E. Ansah 288/428 [67%] No. 5
19. CB - MIN X. Rhodes 250/375 [66%] No. 25
20. TE - CIN T. Eifert 275/426 [65%] No. 21
21. CB - OAK D.J. Hayden 266/413 [64%] No. 12
22. OLB - PIT J. Jones 198/325 [61%] No. 17
23. CB - NYJ D. Milliner[+] 128/220 [58%] No. 9
DT - CAR S. Lotulelei 184/320 [58%] No. 14
25. WR - STL T. Austin 222/407 [55%] No. 8
26. DE - IND B. Werner[+] 84/187 [45%] No. 24
27. DT - MIN S. Floyd 136/375 [36%] No. 23
28. DE - GB D. Jones 91/336 [27%] No. 26
DE - MIA D. Jordan 101/376 [27%] No. 3
30. WR - MIN C. Patterson 62/316 [20%] No. 29
31. DT - DEN S. Williams 68/358 [19%] No. 28
32. OG - ARZ J. Cooper[IR] ---------------- No. 7
About half of the first-round selections have played at least 75 percent or more of the snaps right away. Rookie offensive linemen continue to contribute the most to their team, while the 2013 receiver class, including Patterson, Houston Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins and St. Louis Rams receiver Tavon Austin, has had a minimal impact so far.
Patterson has taken the least amount of snaps among any first-round selection other than Arizona Cardinals' seventh-overall pick Jonathan Cooper, who was placed on injured reserve before the start of the season. Patterson is second in the NFL in average return yardage on kickoffs, behind Dallas Cowboys receiver Dwayne Harris. However, he's been targeted just 11 times in the offense this season.